I talk to people almost everyday that have given up on their struggle to find a church they are comfortable in and I have to admit that even while I’m not out there trying to find that special place, because we’ve been blessed with a very special fellowship at Grace Place, but I certainly understand the struggle. I once heard that if you find the perfect church, don’t go, because you will mess it up.
There are some great benefits in going to church, even if it’s not perfect. Below are a seven reasons why I think everyone should make and take the time to participate in church every chance you get.
1. You Have A Chance To Meet God!
2. You Might Bless Someone Or Someone Might Bless You!
3. You May Hear Something That Takes You To A Whole New Level!
4. If You Do Nothing Else, It’s A Great Time And Place To Practice Gratitude!
5. Interactions With Others Open Up All Kinds Of Possibilities!
6. It’s Possible You Might Get Inspired To Discover, Grow And Use Your Spiritual Gift.
I’ve been thinking about thinking and my thinking got me to wondering where in the universe does a thought come from? After a little research, I discovered there is no easy or difinitive answer to that question. I think a thought is a reaction to a combination of actions on our part. They seem to come from nowhere on a pretty much continual basis. They can work together or oppose each other and they are present regardless of my giving them attention or not.
You are not the creator of your thoughts, but you can be the controller. You have the opportunity to choose the thoughts you will empower, feed and grow. The way we empower, feed and grow a thought is by THINKING about it. If you don’t like the way a thought makes you feel, then you can make a choice to let it go and grab another to empower with your thinking and attention.
YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CHOICE! We have been given a very amazing gift by being able to choose and divide for ourselves. Don’t give this power to anyone else and don’t waste this power by not utilizing it. Pay attention to your thoughts and choose to feed and grow the one’s that are going to make your life better by THINKING about them…
YOU EMPOWER, FEED AND GROW WHAT YOU CHOOSE! This may seem a little repetitive, but we need to realise, understand and apply the power of our choice. What you CHOOSE you EMPOWER. What you empower you feed and what you feed you grow. It really is that simple. Choice = Power…
YOU ARE IN CONTROL IF YOU WANT TO BE! One of my favorite teachers used to say: ”When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!” The key word is: YOU! Here’s the question you need to ask and answer: Do I want to control the direction of my life by choosing the thoughts I empower or do I want give that control to someone or something else?
I’m not sure where a thought comes from, but I know and believe we have the power to decide where it’s going and that makes all the difference!
The most precious commodity that we possess in this present life is TIME. We all have the same allotment of seconds, minutes and hours everyday and once todays is used up, you cannot get it back. The good news is: Tomorrow you get a whole new twenty four hours to do it all over again.
I have often said and have heard other people say: “I just wish I had the time!” And when I really stop to think about it, there is just one problem with that statement: The truth is that I do have the time, and it is ultimately up to me in how I choose to invest and spend that time. And if I don’t spend that time doing what I want to do, then there is really no one to blame, but myself.
The reality is that we are really good at making excuses and the “I just wish I had time” excuse is a very easy one for us to fall back on. Whatever time you have, is yours to take and do with as you please, so stop making excuses and start taking a look at your life from a different and higher perspective. Soon you will realize there are some things you need to start taking and making time for, which means that something else is going to have to slide in your busy life.
One of the questions we need to ask ourselves on a continual basis is: “WHAT REALLY MATTERS?” When we ask this question and answer it honestly, it brings tremendous clarity. Many times, I have discovered that what I convinced myself matters was not nearly as important and necessary as I had convinced myself. What really matters? The list is not anywhere near as big as we sometimes allow it to become. Ask and answer this question on a regular basis, so that you can live life at the higher place you were created for.
Another good question to ask ourselves is: “WHAT DIFFERENCE IS THIS GOING TO MAKE?” What difference is this going to make in a year, five years, fifty years, one hundred years??? Ask and answer this question honestly and it will help you gain perspective that will guide you to a much higher place of enlightenment and living.
There is more than enough time to do what you want to do, what you would love to do, but you are going to have to ask and answer some tough questions to rediscover that time and claim it for yourself. Stop believing the lie that you are too busy and discover the truth that there is time, it’s your time and you can choose to do what you want to with it. When you reclaim the time that is rightfully yours by “taking the time” you will be glad you did…
Why are you the way you are? If we are honest with ourselves, we all have things we want to be better in our lives, but wanting is not enough. Some where a long the way, we learned that if things are not working the way we want them to, then it must be someone else’s fault. I call this the “BLAME GAME” and we are great at playing it. We’ve gotten so used to doing it, that we don’t even realize we are doing it and this is what so often gets us caught up in a life that is never ever getting any better in the sense that we were created for so much more.
We were created to bless and be blessed. We were created for success, happiness and fulfillment which comes from having a purpose and chasing after it. When we fail to see these things materialize in our own life, then we often shift to our “bad” training and rather than taking responsibility for ourselves, we begin to play the blame game.
The problem with blaming others is that it keeps us from achieving our created purpose and fulfilling the destiny or our soul through this human experience. The fact is: Everyone that is living this human experience is doing what they know how to do, what they’ve been trained to do by their surroundings and upbringing.
I never knew my biological father. My Mom was living in a very unhealthy and dangerous situation, which she eventually found the strength to get out of. Not long after that, my biological father discovered he had leukemia, which in short order took his life. My Mom eventually got back on her feet through hard work and supportive family and friends. She started to do whatever she had to do to make a life for the two of us to survive. It would have been very easy for her to give up, blame others and not take any responsibility, but she had more than herself to take care of, she had a baby boy, so she did what Mom’s do. She got rid of the excuses, didn’t get distracted by blame and did what she had to do to begin building a life and a future for us.
Eventually she would remarry a very kind, humble and decent man. A man who would adopt me as his very own son and raise me as such. They would eventually bless me with a little sister who was ten years younger than me and we would all grow up to be one big happy and often dysfunctional family.
Now what you don’t see, read or understand in that story is that interwoven all through it was a lot of ups and downs. We have had our fair share of mountain tops, but also walked through more valleys than we care to share. Life has been a challenge, but a good challenge as far as any of us are concerned and what hasn’t killed us, most definitely has made us stronger. We have struggled, faced heartache, experienced loss and gone through things that we would rather not talk about, but at the end of the day, it hasn’t been anyone else’s fault, just our experience and we are better, closer and stronger for it.
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes it sucks and many times along the way, it just isn’t any fun at all, but if we choose, we can learn from it all. If we will make sure to not get distracted by playing the blame game and just accept what happens as it happens, then we can learn from it, grow because of it and embrace the challenge that it brings our way, because it’s true – you really were created for so much more…
When we are young, we have a way of turning things into monsters that are not really monsters. We can be laying in bed and all of a sudden the shirt we left hanging on the bed post turns into some demonic entity that has escaped the underground prison it’s been caged up in, just to come kill us and destroy our hopes of growing up and one day driving a car to the moon and back. The crazy thing is, the more we look at it, the more real it becomes and the less sleep we get.
When we become adults, it really does not change all that much. The major difference is that we don’t have to be laying in the bed in a dark room. We can be sitting on the beach in the beautiful sunshine and our thoughts become, negative, dark, depressing and before we know it, inside of our heads we find ourselves in the midst of the most viscious storm that it sure to take our lives and ruin everything we have ever counted as dear.
Thoughts are powerful and with them we can imagine the absolute worst or the most magnificent best – the choice is ours! We really do have the power, but we fail to realize it and often empower the wrong side of things, tipping the scales against ourselves, rather than in our favor.
For most of our lives, we are often just one decision away from a totally different life and this can be a negative or a positive, we just have to decide for ourselves. This is why our thoughts are so important, because our thoughts become words, which turn into actions, which grow into habits, which eventually become apart of our character and our character ultimately leads us into our destiny.
It is very important for us to understand: The Battle For Our Heart Is Most Often Fought In Our Mind. It is in fact a battle and it always will be on this side of eternity. This is why it is important to challenge, question, inspect and change the way we think, because when we change the way we think about things, the things we think about change and the goal here is change for the better.
Here are three thoughts to help all of us think better thoughts:
1. Think about what you are thinking about! Is the majority of your thinking negative or positive? Is it building up toward a meaningful goal or tearing down what could really make a difference? Be honest with yourself and when you identify wrong, hurtful and negative thinking, be prepared to take it on and take it out.
2. Make Room For The Right Thinking By Getting Rid Of The Wrong Thinking! We have a limited amount of space in our minds and if we are honest, a lot of that space has been taken over by thoughts that are doing more harm than good, so what can we do about it? Challenge those wrong thoughts so that they change into right thoughts that are taking you closer to where you were created to be, rather than farther away.
3. Increase Your Right Thinking In Every Way You Can Think Of! There are so many different things we can do to increase our right thinking. We can start a gratitude list that helps to remind us of all the amazing blessings we have flowing into and through our lives. We can journal our thoughts, ideas and learning on a daily basis that helps us to get it out of our head, so that we can observe things from a different perspective. We can intentionally set positive reminders by reading, writing, posting, sharing positive thoughts, quotes and ideas in as many different places and in as many diffferent ways as possible…
We can take on the THOUGHT MONSTER and win, we just have to have the thought that this is what we are going to do and then follow through on that thought! Once you’ve taken the step, you will be glad you did…
A few years ago, I started thinking about a word that helped to represent my goals for the new year. Last year, I decided to put a little more focus into selecting my one word and letting it motivate and encourage my goals, rather than allowing the goals to motivate my one word. It was a pretty amazing year and the concept seemed to stick with me and encourage me in some very positive ways all throughout the year.
My word last year was SATISFIED. I first got the idea for the word from Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” I reasoned that if I don’t want, then I must be satisfied and this simple idea which I latched onto, became the driving force that helped me to shift my focus onto the things that were working and off of the things that weren’t working. This simple shift allowed me to empower the positive and weed out the negative that so often tended to distract and discourage. It was a very amazing year, filled with blessing and amazing opportunity.
I had planned on having my one word for 2020 picked out before the year began, but for a variety of reasons, I was just not ever able to focus in on it and figure it out. I didn’t give up, I didn’t freak out about it, I just kept the task on my list and knew that when the time was right, it would come to me. Today was the day and I now have my new word for 2020.
My word for the year is TRIUMPH, which carries with it the idea of victory, achievement, success, conquest, winning, growing, developing and becoming. It is what we were created for and is the ultimate fulfillment that we are all destined to experience.
My Scripture for the year comes from 2 Corinthians 2:14 – it says: ‘But thanks be to God, who always leads us in TRIUMPH in Christ, and manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
My idea with this word is the encouragement to follow through, complete the things that the Spirit has laid out for me and expereince the fulfillment of accomplishment that comes with being in step with my created purpose.
I really want to encourage you to think about and discover your one word for the year. You can go to http://myoneword.org/ and it will help guide you through a simple process and give you a lot of good ideas for choosing yours… If you already have one or happen to figure your one word out, please feel free to share with me, I would love to hear it…
When I was in High School, one of the most popular bands at the time was a group by the name of Chicago with Peter Cetera. They had a lot of hits that were on the “I’m In Love” playlists of every high schooler that had any swag at all. Back then, we would pop an audio tape into our “Walkman” tape player, put on our headphones, which are now ear buds or air pods, just a lot bigger and get lost in the tunes which we would have sworn were all about the truest of love.
One of their most popular “love” songs was a song called: “You’re The Inspiration!’ The first verse was low and slow as it said:
“You know our love was meant to be the kind of love to last forever. And I want you here with me – From tonight until the end of time… You should know – Everywhere I go, Always on my mind, In my heart, In my soul – Baby!”
If youv’e ever heard the song, then you can already feel it building to that amazing chorus. The chorus flowing straight from the lovers heart makes even the listener sing with all the intensity that a loving heart can muster:
“You’re the meaning in my life You’re the inspiration You bring feeling to my life You’re the inspiration Want to have you near me I want to have you hear me saying “No one needs you more than I need you””
It was really a very simple song, with a lot of the same words and a pretty singular thought: “You’re The Inspiration!”, because let’s face it – when you are in high school and you finally fall in love, there is absolutly nothing in this world that matters anymore. At least this is how we think and feel in those moments, which years later, most of us look back on and ask: “What was I thinking?” And the answer: You were not thinking, you were feeling with everything you understood and possessed at that moment in time.
What is important about that song, those feelings and our precious memories is this: Most all of us have had at least one moment in time when someone or something came along and inspired us as nothing else ever had. Inspiration is a beautiful, powerful and sometimes very tricky thing, while at the same time being one of the ost amazing gifts we could ever be blessed with.
I want to ask you a question today:
WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
It is so easy to lose focus in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and living. But if we are honest with ourselves and with others, some of the greatest, most precious, most fulfilling and most memorable moments of our lives have come when we found ourselves paying attention to nothing else, but our INSPIRATION.
When someone or something inspires you, you don’t care what other people think or say. the inspiration has touched something deep inside of you and it feels way too good to allow anything or anybody to interfere.
When we listen to and act on our inspiration, we are living at a higher level. We find that we are often more creative, more open to whatever opportunities may come our way and more available to experiencing this amazing, incredible thing called life.
Everyone needs inspiration. Live long enough and you will discover that a “physical relationship” is not the only place it can come from. In fact, inspiration can come from a variety of different sources. The important thing is to look for yours.
When was the last time you actually took some time to think about and look for what inspires you? I can tell you this: If you don’t look for it, then you are going to have a lot harder time finding, experiencing and holding onto it.
What is it that you can’t live without? What is it that that you don’t want to live without? What is it that brings meaning and feeling to your everyday experiences? Figure this out, chase after it and you will be on your way to living a pretty blessed life…